Pete Davies, Business Development Manager for Fireco discusses exclusively for Fire Buyer the necessities of fire alarm systems.
The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order and Building Regulations, which form the basis of fire safety law in England and Wales, requires general fire precautions and that occupants of a premises be given sufficient early warning in the event of a fire. With few exceptions, this comes in the form of automatic alarm and detection equipment, commonly known as a fire alarm. The legal requirement for this equipment forms the basic necessity, but the importance of having this type of apparatus extends even further.
Fire alarms not only give us the ability to warn people of danger but also to operate automated systems which allow us to protect our buildings. For example, without automatic detection, we can’t use hold-open devices for fire doors. These are vital for ensuring that fire doors are not wedged open and are able to close safely in an emergency, preventing smoke and fire from travelling through the building and causing damage that could bankrupt some businesses. These devices rely on some form of equipment which can detect smoke or heat, which could indicate a fire, in order to operate.
We also rely on automatic alarm and detection equipment to operate sprinkler systems, a requirement under Approved Document B of the building regulations in new residential blocks of more than 30m in height. Automatic opening vent systems, used in buildings with complex or long escape routes which force smoke and toxic fumes out of a building, are also imperative.
If you’re unsure if your premises needs a fire alarm system, you should have a suitable fire risk assessment carried out and seek guidance from your local fire and rescue authority. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to suggest that it could literally be the difference between life and death, and could save your business from financial ruin, should the worst happen in your building.